America’s Next Top Model 9: Media Conference Call with Sarah, 11/09/07
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A plus-size model ever winning the title of America’s Next Top Model? Come on! As long as Tyra is able to yo-yo with her weight, and historically seeing how previous plus-size winners are treated on the show, do you really think there will ever be a plus-size winner? Didn’t think so. Sarah, a 20 year old College Student from Heath, Massachusetts, became the sixth contestant eliminated from the show after being told she was neither skinny enough nor plus-size enough to fit into the modeling industry. Although her spirit may have seemed broken as she left the show, it was an exuberant, personable Sarah that emerged for this interview to give her take of her time on the show.
(Moderator) Hi! Thank you so much for joining us. We have Sarah from America’s Next Top Model on the line, and Sarah, why don’t you tell us how you got started being on the show.
I have a friend who has been harassing me to try out for probably a year and a half before I actually did. I was a sophomore when I tired out, and he had definitely been harassing me since the beginning of freshman year. But, I never did it, and finally I had another friend who was trying out, and I got talked into going—sort of spur of the moment. At the very last minute, I decided to finally try out, and I did thinking that it would never happen, and why was I doing this! I wasn’t a model, I’ve never modeled, I don’t look like a model! But, apparently, they thought differently, so I was very glad, and that was that! That is how it all began.
First, Sarah, why don’t you spell your last name for us. A lot of the websites kind of get it wrong sometimes, so I like to clarify.
It’s Sarah with an “h”. Sarah Hartshorne. H-a-r-t-s-h-o-r-n-e.
Cool! Yeah, I don’t know what happened. Last cycle, people just started making up last names, so I like to keep it clear.
Q: Do you think that the judges were justified in sending you home?
It’s hard because obviously I didn’t want to go home, but I think that they know more about fashion than anyone, really. They know so much, and they know what my place is in it and how it’s very complicated. I think it’s unfortunate that I had to be eliminated for those reasons, but I don’t think that those were illegitimate reasons at all, which is too bad. The reasons are there, so. . . .yes, they were justified.
Q: Did you feel that you were under a lot of pressure throughout the competition coming in as like a pseudo plus-size model? Did you feel a lot of pressure?
I like that! Pseudo plus-size model! I never thought of that! I like real size, but pseudo plus is good, too.
Q: I didn’t see you plus-size at all.
No, but I like pseudo plus! You know, there is so much pressure in the competition for everybody. I don’t think I had it any worse. I’m disappointed that my few moments of insecurity were the ones that made it onto the air so prevalently because I don’t want girls to see that and say, “Oh, she is insecure. I should be insecure, too.” Or, there is something wrong with looking the way she does, because I don’t think there is at all. I hope that there will be a place for people who look like me in the fashion industry. No, I mean there’s a lot of pressure in the fashion industry and especially on the show where you are competing, and where you could be going home at any minute. I mean, obviously, I wasn’t the first to go home, so clearly everyone is subject to elimination at any time. I mean, yes, there was a lot of pressure but not because I was bigger than the other girls.
Q: They showed on that episode that there was a lot of discussion about weight in the house. Was that accurate? Was there a lot of discussion about your weight and the other girls’ weight in the house?
Not really. No. Just about the fact that I was losing it. You know, I realize I said there wasn’t any more pressure for me because I was bigger, but I do think that it was a factor in reviewing my photos, but everyone has something that they need to work on. In my case, it just happened to be the fact that I was bigger. It really wasn’t at all. I didn’t view the other girls as the enemy or like the thin ones, and I was the fat one or anything. There were just people who I was experiencing this with. Obviously, it did come up because you’re in a, you know, it comes up if you’re with your girlfriends. It comes up with anyone you spend a lot of time with, but they were all very secure, confident, strong women, which actually made it easier because if they spent all their time going, “Oh my God. I’m so fat; oh my God, I’m so this” then it maybe would have been more difficult, but as it was, no. Not at all.
Q: How do you feel that this show portrays modeling and the industry overall to its viewers—like to the younger girls who maybe want to get into the industry?
You know, I am really not the best person to ask about that totally! Honestly, because all of my knowledge of the fashion industry really comes from this show and occasionally maybe reading a magazine. I hardly wore makeup at all before going onto the show. I would go through sort of fits of wearing makeup somewhat regularly, but that was it. From what I can tell, it’s a very accurate representation of the fashion industry, but I don’t know that much about it. I’m really not an authority on that!
Q: You seemed very emotional when you were eliminated. Was that partly because you were surprised that it was your week to go?
I was sort of surprised. It’s weird because I was surprised, but at the same time, every week—I mean, at least I don’t know if the other girls do that—I assume they did. It was sort of like, “This could be it! This is the week. Oh, no!” So, I was very disappointed, and I don’t want to say I wasn’t, but a lot of it was just how tired I was. [laughs] I mean, we had been up since three in the morning the night before—when we got back, actually. We probably didn’t make it to bed until 3:30 – 3:45. Then, we had to get up the next day to leave at—I think it was either 7:30 or 8:00, so I was just exhausted. Everything seems worse when you are that tired. It did feel like the end of the world at the time, and I was like, “Oh, God! I’m never going to see the girls again, and I’m never going to do any work, and it’s over!” It seemed like the end of the world at the time, but, you know what? I had a few minutes to reflect on it, and I was going, maybe it’s not the end of the world. I’m very excited to keep in touch with the girls, and I can get in touch with Victoria and girls I was close to before. I was very emotional, and I was a little bit surprised just because I had been doing so well. A lot of my emotion was just sort of exhaustion, just sort of pent-up—I don’t know, whatever, girlness, you know. Partially! [laughs]
Q: You also seemed uncomfortable with the outfit you had to wear for the video. Tell me more about that. Were you as uncomfortable as they made it seem?
[Says very animatedly] I really was not, and I’m disappointed that I seemed that way! I would say find me the person, who isn’t maybe Janet Jackson, who feels totally comfortable in a completely mesh outfit right away! I got into it. I thought it was a really fun video shoot. It was a really fun role to kind of get into—this dominatrix vampire, and I think I maybe had two seconds, and that just happened to be what came across, which is too bad. But, no, I wasn’t that uncomfortable.
SV: Our readers always like hear another contestant's opinion of the other girls in the house. In a one or two word description (or brief sentence), please tell me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear their names:
Ambreal: Musical. A model-dancer-singer-actress.
Bianca: Hilarious. Outspoken.
Chantal: Inspirational. And SO cheerful.
Ebony: Honest. And so tall! My roommate on the cruise. We were tight.
Heather: Fantastic. Enough said, really.
Janet: Georgia Peach! She always said, "What's the deal, pickle?" and "I'm starvin' Marvin!" and I catch myself saying that all the time.
Jenah: My boo! Really chill.
Kimberly: Sweetheart and so funny!
Lisa: More talented than she realizes.
Saleisha: Driven and fun.
Victoria: Intelligent, and so sweet.
Yourself (Sarah): Total dork.
SV: How tall are you, and if it’s not too personal to ask, what size are you (so the rest of us “normal” people will know whether we are plus-size or not).
I am 5'10" and usually a size 7/8. I have pants that are size 6 and some that are size 10.
SV: Apparently, only stick-thin and bigger women exist in the role of the modeling world. Are you going to pursue modeling, and if you do, will you gain or lose weight to fit into one of those molds?
That's a complicated question. I am planning to pursue modeling, and I hope there's a place for me in the industry. In fact, I know there should be a place
for me in the industry, especially given the amount of
women that are my size. At the same time, I love modeling, and it feels wrong to say I would be unwilling to do something short of compromising my
health to pursue it.
SV: Thanks, Sarah, for being such a positive role model for the majority of the population—size-wise. You’ve got the looks and personality to accomplish whatever it is you want to do in life!
Thank you so much! I hope I can keep it up!
(Moderator) One thing we need to talk about because I’ve never had anybody, and I’ve been doing this for three cycles, I want everybody to know that you actually have a modeling job in the next few weeks in New York.
Oh, I do?! I mean I do!
Well, that photo-shoot for. . .
Oh, that’s right! What’s it for?
Supermodels Unlimited magazine. Something to brag about!
Look out for it! Thank you guys so much. It was great to talk to you all!
Many thanks to THE CW and Sarah for this interview opportunity! A special thank you goes out to Ginny (conference moderator) for making these interviews happen.
Photo credit: THE CW
Last edited by ShrinkingViolet; 11-13-2007 at 02:06 PM.
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